[A2k] Bloomberg: Obama Fast-Track Trade Agenda Risk Comes From Democrat

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sun Jan 12 10:39:20 PST 2014


<SNIP>

Levin said his measure will have stronger provisions on labor, the
environment, currency and also access to medicines. He also wants immediate
approval of a separate measure reauthorizing assistance to workers whose
jobs are lost because of expanded trade.

--

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-10/obama-fast-track-trade-agenda-risk-comes-from-democrat.html

Obama Fast-Track Trade Agenda Risk Comes From Democrat
By Laura Litvan - Jan 10, 2014

One of the biggest challenges to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda is a
senior House Democrat from Michigan with some of the Capitol’s closest ties
to organized labor and his home state’s auto
industry<http://topics.bloomberg.com/auto-industry/>
.

Representative Sander Levin <http://topics.bloomberg.com/sander-levin/>,
the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he’ll lead
opposition to a bipartisan measure unveiled yesterday to allow Obama to
negotiate trade deals that lawmakers can’t amend. A fast-track method for
advancing trade agreements, which the administration wants, is key to
winning passage of some of the largest trade agreements in history.

“I don’t support what they’ve proposed,” Levin told reporters, saying he’ll
write a rival measure that expands the role of Congress in overseeing trade
deals. “It can’t be the same old business as usual in terms of the role of
Congress.”

<SNIP>

The Obama administration is seeking authority to smooth congressional
passage of trade deals, including one being negotiated with a group of 11
other Pacific-region nations and another with the 28-nation European Union.
Those pacts, to create the world’s largest free-trade zones, would link
regions with about $44 trillion in annual economic output.

The U.S. is also negotiating a services-trade agreement with a group of
nations that would cover about half of the world’s economy.

<SNIP>

Also backed by Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Republican
Senator Orrin Hatch <http://topics.bloomberg.com/orrin-hatch/> of Utah, the
measure includes updates for labor and environmental protections,
provisions to guard intellectual property against Internet crimes, and a
first-ever provision to prevent currency manipulation by trading partners.
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing Jan. 16.

Even before the announcement, lawmakers at opposite ends of the political
spectrum were objecting to giving Obama fast-track authority, particularly
in the House. Republicans control the chamber, 233-200, with two vacancies.

<SNIP>

House Speaker John Boehner <http://topics.bloomberg.com/john-boehner/>, an Ohio
Republican <http://topics.bloomberg.com/ohio-republican/>, said yesterday
he wouldn’t advance such a measure without more Democratic support,
maintaining that Obama has provided “scant attention” to the sinking
support for it in his party’s ranks.
<SNIP>

Levin said his measure will have stronger provisions on labor, the
environment, currency and also access to medicines. He also wants immediate
approval of a separate measure reauthorizing assistance to workers whose
jobs are lost because of expanded trade.

<SNIP>

Like his younger brother, Senator Carl
Levin<http://topics.bloomberg.com/carl-levin/> of
Michigan, Sander Levin is an authority on trade issues. He favored a 1980s
free trade deal with Canada that benefited the auto industry, while
opposing 1993’s North American Free Trade Agreement. He used his clout to
get Bush to alter labor and environmental protections in a Peru free trade
deal, and also has insisted on changes in agreements reached with Colombia,
South Korea and Panama.



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